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Dog bites: Does the one bite rule apply in California?

On Behalf of | May 25, 2023 | Dog Bites

Thousands of people suffer dog bites in the United States annually, leading to serious injuries, infections and even fatalities.  In the event of a dog attack, it helps to understand the rules that apply to dog bites in your jurisdiction and ensure that you protect your rights and interests.

The “one bite rule” is one such example. This is a legal doctrine that states that dog owners are not generally liable for their dog’s first bite, as long as they had no reason to know that their dog was dangerous.

Essentially, this means that if a dog has never bitten anyone before or exhibited dangerous behavior or tendencies, its owner cannot be held legally responsible for any injuries caused by the dog’s first bite.

California dog owners are strictly liable

The one bite rule only applies in certain jurisdictions, and California is not one of them. The state operates under a strict liability dog bite rule. In other words, dog owners are liable for any injuries caused by their dog, regardless of whether the dog has bitten anyone before.

If you are the victim of a dog attack in California, the owner can be held legally responsible for your injuries, even if they had no reason to know that the dog was dangerous. It makes it all the easier to recover compensation, unlike in one-bite rule states.

Seek legal assistance

While you may be entitled to damages after a dog attack, it is best to have informed legal guidance in the claims process. This includes gathering evidence of your injuries and the damages you suffered. This is important when assessing the compensation you are entitled to. It can help increase the chances of getting the settlement you deserve.